When it comes to buying your first home, the community you choose is every bit as important to your happiness as the property itself. No one wants to commute 20-minutes for a litre of milk or find themselves house poor as a result of property taxes they can’t reasonably afford.
If you’re on the hunt for your first Edmonton home, here are our top tips for choosing the right neighbourhood for your needs:
Determine Your Wants and Needs
How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need? Do you want a contemporary new home in a developing neighbourhood or are you looking to settle in an established community with historic charm? Your wants and needs will have a direct impact on the home style and community you choose.
For instance, if “budget-friendly” and “low-maintenance” top your list, you’ll likely want to explore communities known for their affordable apartment-style condos or townhomes. Conversely, if ample yard space and a front attached garage are your main priorities, you may opt to research Edmonton neighbourhoods known for their duplexes, and single-family homes.
See our previous post: Three Affordable Home Styles For First-Time Buyers
As affordability is a top priority for many first-time home buyers, be sure to ask your Edmonton REALTOR® what to expect in terms of property taxes. Ultra-popular neighbourhoods may see higher taxes due to the home styles available, higher market values and asking prices, as well as their proximity to certain amenities (i.e. a golf course or brand-new new school). Bedroom communities may see lower property taxes and more affordable sale prices but may result in a longer and more expensive commute.
Proximity to Work
Speaking of commuting, how far is your prospective neighbourhood from work, friends or family? Are you willing to travel further to make homeownership more affordable (as in the bedroom community example mentioned above)? Are there major arterial routes nearby such as the Anthony Henday or Whitemud, ensuring a streamlined drive? If you rely on Edmonton transit, how many bus stops are available in and around the community?
Spend more time doing what you love (in your new home) and less time on the road by taking your commute into consideration.
Look For Amenities That Matter…
What amenities you consider important in a neighbourhood will vary depending on your unique lifestyle. Whereas a working professional may prefer to be closer to downtown Edmonton, an outdoor enthusiast may opt to settle in a more suburban area, surrounded by parks, trees, walking trails and open green spaces. Having the right amenities nearby will improve both your quality of life and the enjoyment of your first home.
…And Even The Ones That Don’t
Keep in mind though, when it comes to amenities, the more the merrier. Even if you don’t have children, opting for a neighbourhood with a local school, daycare and or other kid-friendly features can improve your home’s value when you’re ready to move on. The same applies to other desirable amenities such as recreation centres, restaurants, entertainment venues, shopping districts and more.
Another thing you’ll want to consider is your future plans. Here again, a local elementary school, playground or family doctor may not seem important now, but what about in a few years’ time? The same logic can also be applied to the home style you choose. A one-bedroom, apartment condo may not be the right home style if you’re planning on getting married or starting a home business in the not-so-distant future.
Consider Resale Value
While we understand your first home is well, for you, it never hurts to think of how future buyers may perceive your home and your neighbourhood. This is yet another reason why you’ll want to take the future into account, especially when it comes to resale value. A few neighbourhood-related resale factors to consider include:
Historical Home Prices In The Area – Are sale prices on an upward (or downward) trend?
Crime Rates – As with historical prices, be sure to investigate a community’s crime trends to see if they are headed upward or downward.
Future Development – Development plans can both positively or negatively affect home values in the area.
Neighbouring Properties – Are the neighbours’ yards and home exteriors well-kept? Are their cracks in the sidewalks and potholes in the streets? These are yet another example of community factors that can have a negative impact on your home’s resale value.
Note: Keep in mind, your REALTOR® will be able to provide the information listed above and help you zero-in on a home you love, with great resale potential.
Partner With an Expert
Even the most seasoned buyer faces challenges when choosing the right community to call home. But for first-time buyers, the process can be downright overwhelming without the right advice, guidance, expertise and resources. For this reason, we strongly recommend working with an Edmonton REALTOR®. Not only will they save you time, money and frustration, but they’re also an invaluable resource when it comes to finding your perfect neighbourhood. Here’s why:
Expert Market Knowledge – One of your REALTOR’S® many responsibilities is to consistently monitor Edmonton’s market conditions. By keeping tabs on price fluctuations and trends, throughout various neighbourhoods, they can help you save thousands on the purchase of your first home.
Friendly Neighbourhood Specialists – Edmonton REALTORS® also double as Edmonton tour guides. As such, they make it their mission to learn everything there is to know about home styles, amenities, commute times, crime stats, pricing trends and more within a prospective community, so you can make the most informed decision possible.
Learn more about Edmonton’s many diverse communities and their amazing real estate opportunities by reaching out to us or by visiting our exclusive Communities blog. And, don’t forget to take advantage of our free home buyer’s resources below:
- A Step by Step Guide For Buying Your First Home – From start to finish, everything you need to know about buying your first home
- Choosing The Right Neighbourhood – Your all-in-one guide to finding the right Edmonton community
- The Terry Paranych Real Estate Group’s Blog – Featuring everything you need to know about Edmonton real estate
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